We encourage regular checkups for individuals age four and up. Most people
find that it is valuable to have a checkup at least every six months.
Regular checkups include a thorough cleaning and an oral exam by Dr. Wall.
During the oral exam, Dr. Wall checks the health of your mouth – teeth, gums,
cheeks, and tongue. At each visit Dr. Wall also checks old fillings and
restorations because constant pressure from chewing, grinding or clenching can
cause them to wear away, chip or crack.
Your first visit to Dr. Wall typically includes an x-ray that allows Dr.
Wall to view the structure of the jaw, the position of any teeth that have not
yet erupted, malformed roots, and tooth decay.
The initial visit also involves getting your medical history. When you share
your medical history with Dr. Wall, be sure to provide complete, up-to-date
information on your health. Inform your dentist if you have experienced recent
hospitalization or surgery, or if you have recently been ill. Also tell Dr.
Wall the names, doses, and frequency of any medications you are taking —
whether prescription or over-the-counter products — and the name of your
physician. Inform Dr. Wall of any changes in your health or medications. This
information will help Dr. Wall to select the most safe and effective method of
treatment for you.
A sealant is a plastic material that is usually applied to the chewing
surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). This plastic resin bonds
into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of
back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and
acids. Sealants are most effective on primary teeth because these teeth will be
replaced by age eleven.
Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from
smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into
the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque, so sealants are used to
protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.
Sealants work well for all ages. Because the likelihood of developing pit
and fissure decay begins early in life, children and teenagers are obvious
candidates. But adults can benefit from sealants as well.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. It takes only a few minutes to
seal each tooth. First, the tooth is cleaned. Next, the chewing surfaces are
roughened with an acid solution to help the sealant adhere to the tooth. Then
the sealant is 'painted' onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the
tooth and hardens. Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected
from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually
last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental
visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them
Ask your dentist about whether sealants can put extra power behind your